Mine Union President Compares Fate Of Coal Industry To Osama Bin Laden’s Death

UMWA President Cecil Roberts

The Environmental Protection Agency’s proposed regulations to limit coal-fired power plants will have the same effect on the coal industry that the American military had on Osama bin Laden, the president of the nation’s largest mining labor union said Tuesday.

The rules seek to limit emissions from new power plants, forcing new plants to install carbon capturing technology to comply. United Mine Workers of America President Cecil Roberts opposes those rules, saying that if enacted, they would kill the coal industry the way Navy SEALs killed bin Laden, The Hill reports:

The Navy SEALs shot Osama Bin Laden in Pakistan and Lisa Jackson shot us in Washington,” Cecil Roberts, president of the powerful union, said during an interview Tuesday on the West Virginia radio show MetroNews Talkline. […]

“I noticed this past week the vice president was talking about the campaign and he mentioned that Osama Bin Laden was dead and General Motors was alive,” Roberts said. “He should have gone on to say that the coal industry is not far behind with respect to what happened with Osama Bin Laden.”

Roberts’ preposterous comparison aside, the new rules wouldn’t affect clean coal, which the industry and its backers — like Roberts — claim exists. Roberts also ignores that despite falling coal production in the nation’s biggest coal producing region — Appalachia is rapidly approaching its peak coal capacity — coal employment rose to a 15-year high in 2011, largely due to EPA regulations.

While the UMWA will most likely avoid challenging President Obama on the issue during the 2012 presidential election, the new EPA rules could cost the president an endorsement. Still, Roberts thinks Obama has “done a lot of great things for the country,” though it isn’t clear whether Roberts considers bringing about the death of the world’s most notorious terrorist to be one of them.